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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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18th August 1943 547 Squadron Wellington XI HZ407 F/O. Springer

Operation: Musketry 3

Date: 18th August 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 547 Squadron (motto: Celer ad caedendum - 'Swift to strike'). 19 Group. Coastal Command

Type: Wellington XI

Serial: HZ407

Code: 2V-K

Base: RAF Davidstow Moor, Cornwall

Location: Bay of Biscay

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Clarke 1230372 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Pilot: F/O. Noel William Springer NZ/415034 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Charles Ross Byers R/127557 RCAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Billing Hasdell 1222569 RAFVR Age 33. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry James Graham 1029884 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Granville Smith 1021078 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 13:27 hrs on an anti - submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay.

The aircraft failed to return to base and no trace was found of the bomber presumed lost over the Bay of Biscay.

Some reports state that they were shot down by Shot down by Oblt. Hermann Horstmann of 13/KG40. (Kracker Archive)

Right: Oblt. Hermann Horstmann

The Springer family also lost another family member, F/O. Colin George Nairne NZ/42117 RNZAF on the 30th July 1944. Further details here, he survived an earlier accident, details here.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Clarke. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 135. Son of Frederick and Esther Clarke, of Leigh, Lancashire and husband of Margaret Clarke, of Leigh, Lancashire, England.

F/O. Noel William Springer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 23rd October 1920 at Wakefield, Nelson. Attended Nelson College from 1934 to 1935. Worked as a farmer for his fathers farm 'Totaradale' at Wakefield. Enlisted at Levin on the 07th September 1941. Initial training with No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 19th October 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 17th December 1941. Pilots badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the 24th April 1942. Attached to Bomber and gunnery school as staff pilot on the 19th May 1942. Awarded commission on the 091st December 1942. Train to New York and then embarked for England on the 09th March 1943. Further training with No. 3 (C) Operational Training Unit on the 11nd April 1943. Finally joining 547 squadron on the 03rd June 1943. Son of Ernest and Constance Ella L. Springer (née Ricketts) of Wakefield, Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 742 flying hours logged and on his 10th operational sortie.

Fl/Sgt. Charles Ross Byers. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 181. Worked for the aircraft division National steel Car Company at Malton. Trained at No. 1 Central Navigation School after enlisting in 1941. Son of Charles William (died 1956, age 69) and Winifred Beatrice Byers (died 1979, age 88), of 350 Main Street, Weston, Ontario, Canada. His brother Douglas also served.

Sgt. George Billing Hasdell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 152. Son of Charles Henry and Comfort C. Hasdell, of Northampton and husband of Winifred Louisa Hasdell of Northampton, England.

Sgt. Henry James Graham. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 151. Son of William John and Aletta Gertrude Graham, of Portobello, Staffordshire, England.

Sgt. Granville Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 165. Son of James and Jessie Smith, of Newton Heath, Manchester, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 25-10-2021

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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